From the light rail to the Cross City tunnel, recent infrastructure building has reshaped the way we live in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
We look at recent projects and also at what’s planned over the next decade.
1. Light rail – and the potential extension
In December 2019, the light rail opened to Randwick. Then, in April 2020, the CBD and South East Light Rail to Kingsford opened.
The timing couldn’t have been worse, given the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, forcing our city into its first lockdown. This meant, in its very early life, our newest method of public transport was barely used.
Now, however, it’s a different story. NSW Transport figures show that in April 2023, over two million trips were taken on the Randwick (L2) and Kingsford (L3) lines. That’s more than 30% higher than the same time last year.
The light rail has profoundly impacted our areas, making it easier to travel to and from Randwick and UNSW, as well as to Kensington, Kingsford and other parts of the east. In the process, it is also helping rejuvenate strips of Anzac Parade, especially in Kingsford, boosting our local economy.
What’s more, a potential extension of the light rail could be on the cards. Government planning shows an extension to Maroubra Junction and onto Malabar is planned by 2036. However, the new Minns Labor government has pledged to review all infrastructure spending, so watch this space.
As a more established area, the eastern suburbs has not seen the kind of major new road projects that some parts of Sydney have recently received. But we’ve still been the recipients of some new roadways in the recent past. The cross-city tunnel, for instance, cuts travel times for anyone heading east-to-west across the city or vice versa (although, of course, that time saving comes with a toll).
There are also new roads planned for our area in the future, including an Alexandria to Moore Park connectivity upgrade, which aims to remove one of the major bottlenecks in the inner east. While not requiring massive investment, the Sydney Clearways Project is also aimed at speeding up traffic in our area and across Sydney. In 2020/21, this included installing 7km of new clearways between Mascot and Eastgardens.
3. A south-eastern metro?
Our city’s biggest infrastructure program of the past decade has been the building of the new Sydney Metro, powered by driverless trains. This has already improved commute times in other parts of Sydney, such as the north-west, and will continue to revamp transport in much of the city, thanks to new harbour crossing.
So far, the eastern suburbs have not yet benefited directly from the building of metro lines. However, that may change.
A 2020 government document showed a new metro line extending from the city through Kensington and Randwick, then onto Eastgardens, Maroubra, Malabar, Hillsdale, Little Bay and La Perouse. The plan was for this to be open by 2041.
By 2056, another line would intersect at a Randwick interchange, giving passengers the option of travelling via Eastlakes, Mascot and the Airport onto Kogarah.
If this was to go ahead, it would fundamentally alter the way we can travel by public transport. However, Sydney Metro projects are currently also being reviewed by the new government, so it all remains to be seen.
4. Healthcare and education
We’ve also recently seen some major healthcare and education infrastructure building.
The Randwick Health and Innovation precinct will see a new Randwick campus offering state-of-the-art health and learning facilities. This is especially important for our area, as its population both grows and ages.
We could also potentially see a new public high school in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, with the new government pledging a co-educational comprehensive school in the leadup to this year’s state election.
The Impact of infrastructure on property prices
Although the eastern suburbs is an established area with good transport links, there is always room for improvement. That’s especially true of many of the parts of the east still served by buses.
When we see new infrastructure projects like the light rail and metro getting built, it often eases pressure on the inner suburbs while boosting property values in those suburbs directly connected to the new links. That’s because they suddenly become much more accessible.
In fact, one study found the building of a rail line immediately gave homes within 400 metres of a station a 4.5% gain. Those between 400m and 800 metres of a station got a 1.3% price lift, while those within 800m and 1,600m received an immediate 0.3% gain.
Meanwhile, the building of new healthcare options tends to make an area more attractive to families and the elderly respectively, again often boosting house prices. They also provide a steady source of jobs and employment, which has a ripple effect on the local economy. And good schools are always in demand. Domain research found that properties within a good school zone can outperform other areas by up to 10 times – especially in a downturn.
If you’d like to know more about buying or selling property in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, please get in touch.